The abduction and forced conversion of Christian girls into Islam continue in Pakistan, a matter reportedly enforced by the inaction of local police.
The Christian Post reported a recent case involving a Roman Catholic girl, 15-year-old Sabah Masih of the town of Madina in Punjab Province's Faisalabad City, who was abducted on May 20. Masih, according to her father, Nadeem, was off to work with her older sister when their 45-year-old Muslim neighbor, Muhammad Yasir, abducted her in a rickshaw.
Pakistani Police's Role In The Persecution Of Christians
Nadeem, a textile factory sanitation worker, told Morning Star News that Yasir has been thrice married but has no children from his wives. Nadeem highlighted that his family immediately reported his daughter's abduction to the police but they refuse to help with the case.
"The police are not cooperating with us. The investigating officer keeps telling us that Saba has converted to Islam and contracted marriage with Yasir, but he has not shown us any document as yet. We are pleading with police to at least recover the girl and arrange our meeting with her so that we can ascertain the facts ourselves, but he doesn't listen to us," Nadeem said.
"We have no one to turn to in this difficult time," he lamented.
Nadeem pointed out that Masih is just a child and could have not gone with Yasir voluntarily. He disclosed that Yasir's family have destroyed their reputation in the community by claiming that Masih had an affair with Yasir. The rumor Yasir's family circulated involved Masih as the one who coaxed Yasir into eloping.
Masih is said to be one of the Christian girls reported missing in Faisalabad City. The other girls--such as 14-year-old Chashman Masih--were also forced into marrying a Muslim man and converting to Islam. Chashman, in particular, was kidnapped from her school in July 2021.
Amos Nadar, an advocate against Christian persecution, reported last week that a Christian girl from the town of Khudian Khas in Punjabi, Pakistan was abducted by a man, Muhammad Abiz, last May 21. The unnamed girl was working on the roof of their house when a man came up and tore her clothes. The girl's brother heard the commotion and went up the roof to help her sister. But the man overpowered him and took away her sister.
Nadar stressed that Christians face various problems in Pakistan including girls being unsafe even in their own homes. The advocate alluded that such incidents are rampant in Pakistan because local police do not file the report on the kidnappings until there is intervention from the lawyers.
In addition, the International Christian Concern said a similar incident occurred on April 5 involving a 16-year-old Christian who was abducted by a Muslim man. The girl was coming home from work when the armed man and his accomplices kidnapped her. Two witnesses tried to save the girl from the men but failed. The men left after forcing the girl into the car.
The 16-year-old's father also reported the kidnapping immediately to the police and the girl's employer. Again, the police were uncooperative despite the abductor's identity known and accounts of witnesses presented.
Human Rights Groups Fight Against Pakistan Christians' Persecution
However, unlike Masih's case, the 16-year-old girl's case reached the city District and Session court after the father filed the complaint through the aid of Human Rights Focus Pakistan. The case already had two hearings--May 21 and June 2--where evidence was presented. Yet Pakistani police remain uncooperative and have made no progress.
"The kidnapper has been clearly identified, two eyewitnesses have made statements in court, and the owner of the factory has admitted the kidnapping by the co-worker: Why hasn't the police taken action yet?" The International Christian Concern quoted the president of Human Rights Focus Pakistan as saying.
Last January, a protest was held in the Karachi Press Club by various human rights groups in Pakistan including Voice for Justice regarding the string of abduction of four Christian teenage girls. The teenager's ages ranged from 14 to 17 and were abducted by Muslim men for forced marriage and conversion to Islam, the Union of Catholic Asian News reported.
The protesters pleaded with the government to put an end to sexual violence and the maltreatment of women in Pakistan's society. Voice for Justice particularly demanded the courts to rapidly process such cases so that the minors would be returned to their families immediately.
BBC highlighted that 1,000 girls--Christians, Sikhs, and Hindus--are abducted annually in Pakistan. These girls who belong to minorities have seen an increase last year.
While Firstpost underscored that the persecution of religious minorities in Pakistan was only put in the spotlight recently due to the murder of two Sikh businessmen by Islamic State terrorists in northwestern Pakistan. The media outlet said Christians comprise only 1.59% of Pakistan's population a notch lower than Hindus who make up 1.6%. This is against a population of 96.2% Muslims.